WTA – Tokyo (Sat): Petrova Wins 12th & Biggest WTA Title

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo, Japan
September 23-29, 2012
$2,168,400/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Singles – Final
(17) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 60 16 63

Doubles – Final
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 61 64

Final Facts
– Petrova wins her 12th and biggest WTA title, her previous two biggest coming at $1,340,000 Premier-level events at Charleston and Berlin in 2006 (this one was a $2,168,400 Premier-level event); she is now 12-11 lifetime in WTA finals
– With wins over World No.7 Sara Errani, World No.9 Sam Stosur and World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska this week, it is the first time Petrova has ever beaten three Top 10 players at the same tournament (and the only previous time she had beaten two at the same tournament was right here in Tokyo four years ago)
– Petrova was down 63 41 and a point from going down 63 51 against Errani in the quarterfinals (she ended up winning that match, 36 75 63)
– Petrova is projected to rise from No.18 to No.14 on the new rankings
– Radwanska is now 10-4 in WTA finals and is projected to stay at No.3
– Kops-Jones and Spears win their fifth WTA doubles title together; this is their second straight WTA doubles title together (they won Seoul last week) and their second Premier-level WTA doubles title together (they won Carlsbad this summer); Kops-Jones now has seven WTA doubles titles to her name and Spears nine

Final Quotes
Nadia Petrova: “After running out of gas in the second set, I don’t know where I found the strength and willpower to fight in the third set, but I did and it feels amazing. This is the biggest tournament I’ve ever won. It’s a great accomplishment. And at the beginning of the tournament I definitely didn’t expect to win the title, because of the back injury I’ve been struggling with. I’m so happy to be here right now.

“There are a few players who have won Grand Slams after 30, and I feel like I don’t want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same. I still find the will to wake up every morning and go on the court and try to improve with each day. If it’s meant to happen it will, but if it doesn’t, at the end of my career I’ll know I’ve done everything I could.”

Agnieszka Radwanska: “I’m disappointed – I wanted to win this title so much, and when you’re so close and feel you can make it, it’s always emotional if you don’t. But she was playing really well. Her biggest weapon is her serve, for sure, but also her return was very good today, and I had to serve really well myself to hold my serve. But overall I think those two shots were working really well for her today.”

Raquel Kops-Jones: “We were trying to contain ourselves after we won – we kind of wanted to dance. It’s not a Grand Slam, but for us it’s pretty close. We put in a lot of work this year and it’s our biggest win ever.”

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Serena Wins Fourth US Open

Serena Williams collapsed to the tennis court and then jumped for joy after she won her fourth US Open of her career yesterday. The 15th Grand Slam victory of her career wasn’t as easy as it seemed at the beginning, and Williams was actually two points away from losing her second-straight US Open final.

Serena dominated the first set of the matchup, winning 6-2, and breaking the serve of her opponent, 23-year old Victoria Azarenka, ranked #1 in the world, three times. It appeared that the 30-year old Williams would win the final easily, without losing a set to any opponent, something she also accomplished in 2002 on her way to the US Open title. But Azarenka stormed back to take the second set 6-2, to create the first US Open Women’s final to go to a third set in 17 years.

Williams and Azarenka traded breaks in the third and final set, and Azarenka was in control, up 5-3 and a break. At 30-30, Williams took over, holding serve, then breaking Azarenka to tie the set at five, then held serve again before converting a final break that crowned her the champion.

Serena talked about her opponent being two points away from handing her defeat after the match. “At 30-all I figured I could serve out and just make her serve for it…after that, I thought I could just force another game and obviously never give up. I never, never quit. I have come back so many times in so many matches.”

With her win, Williams becomes the first woman ever to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades. “That’s kinda cool” she responded, when asked about the accomplishment. Serena praised the play of her opponent. “You can tell by the score line that she really worked hard and she pushed me.”

Azarenka also had positive things to say about Williams. “She never gives up…she’s definitely the toughest player mentally there is. She continued, with an upbeat attitude. “I have to be positive, you know, because I feel like these kind of matches, every time I play Serena, it really pushes (me) to be better, to improve, to move forward. I have to be thankful to her for that.”

There were numerous entertainers in the star-studded crowd of 23,771, including tennis legends Billie Jean King and Boris Becker, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Mets pitcher RA Dickey, actors Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Judd Hirsch, and James Caviezel, actresses Jennifer Connelly, Minka Kelly,and Vivica Fox, musicians Redfoo of LMFAO and Mandy Moore, supermodel Tyra Banks, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.